The book A Long Way Home is a chronology detailing how the Indian author in Australia, Saroo Brierley, seems to have a normal and well-adjusted lifestyles in Australia. Published in 2014 by the Penguin Publishing Group, it has 272 pages focusing on travel in India, Australia and South Asia. It fits into the category of autobiography & biography class with a deep connection to its personal memoirs. There are several variations with different publishers with sequels like A long way home: a memoir, and the Lion: a long way home. The book tries to show the home search by the creator where he had lost contact with it long time. It is an exploring journey where the author narrates the journey taking readers through his own search for happened and home reconnections. It highlights the life and journey of the author depicting the plight and street lives of the Indian children. Family life and relationships play a central role in the book with a narration of what happens among the streets of India when compared of other parts of the world.
The problem that the author deals with is the everyday life of the Indian street children and the life’s journey of self-discovery. The work projects an image of a young man who discovers himself using the latest technology, the GPS initiated aspect of Google Earth, where he traces his home. He also discovers his long-since left behind identity. The thesis of family reunion and the identity is constructed all through with the author focusing on the history of his journey through remembering the past, how he got lost, the survival, salvation and adoption by the Australian family, starting a new life in Australia as well as showing how his single mother in India struggled to fed for his other four siblings. The theme of rediscovering self is set in Kolkata and in Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. The self-discovery story continues when the author continues to search about his roots where he finds his home, meets the mother and enjoys a strong family reconnections. He also expresses his journeys throughout the India in search for true identity and providing for family reconnections. The author uses symbolism to enhance the meaning of his rediscovery journey when he indicates that he was lost on a train thus ending up thousands of miles away. While the work is an autobiography, the use scavenging in the streets of Calcutta before being adopted by a couple in Australia shows hoe the then five year old Saroo get luck of his life and creates a new destiny of the family and lineage. His writing satisfies the main thesis of searching for life meaning through his instinctive search for recognizable landmarks in his home area. His conclusion at the end of the search is that determination for self-discovery can be hampered by nothing with a strong will.
Some few reviews critic the book despite its new condition with only two years in publication and a translation to motion picture. The book is significant in terms of the problem confronted. It directly shows that self-discovery is as important as possible. The work is well organized in a coherent way with the thirteen chapters having a prologue and an epilogue. It also provides important people in the journey of discovering the true identity making the work complete. Although the work is non-fictional, it eludes the stringent measures applied to scholarly works. The author beliefs in fate and he says that the happenings of the day he got lost, and when his brother was killed by train were to shape his destiny. The work is praised as a thriller, a breath-taking read that readers of family and relationship, discovery and destiny should focus on. The work is recommendable to avid readers who want to discover the talent and mastery in writing the Long way Home by Saroo Brierley.
Brierley, Saroo, Long way Home, Penguin Publishing Group, 2014, 272 pages